Tips for Writing a Great Curriculum Vitae

Tips for Writing a Great Curriculum Vitae

Crafting a quality Curriculum Vitae (CV) can be a daunting task. How can one demonstrate all of their experience in such a small space?

Below are several resources to help you create the best CV for your professional and academic pursuits, including your Research Hub profile.

Understand the Difference between a CV and Resume           

While resumes usually include basic information about employment, education, and contact information, a CV is a more detailed overview of your accomplishments and productivity as a scholar. Additional items typically include:

  • Areas of research interest
  • Grants, honors, and awards
  • Publications and presentations (listed most recent to least)
  • Professional memberships, boards,
  • Scholarly and/or applied research experience
  • Languages spoken (with ability level)
  • Specialized skills
  • Courses taught
  • Academic qualifications and certifications

These items should also be included in your profile on the Research Hub. We recommend creating your CV and using the content within it to build your user profile.

Learn more about how to update your Research Hub user profile.

Formatting Tips

Before you begin it’s important to identify the standards for your particular industry. Formatting expectations vary by profession and level of experience. CVs can be designed chronologically, functionally, or both.

Chronological CVs are often organized present to past to show growth. Functional CVs focus on the abilities, knowledge, and achievements of the candidates, especially those who have changed career paths. A functional CV might be focused around a theme such as collaboration, organization, problem solving, high performance leadership, working under pressure, and so forth, to showcase transferrable skills and experience.

It is also helpful to identify whether you plan to create a researcher or a practitioner vitae. There is a significant difference between a researcher CV and a practitioner CV. To learn more about creating an effective CV as a researcher, visit these third party resources.

Check with others in the field to identify a template or formatting expectations unique to your field.

Click here to download the SAS Researcher CV Template (pdf)

Styling Tips

The most important thing about a CV – aside from being an accurate representation of your experience and know-how to date – is being easy to read.

There are no universal guidelines for CV formatting but there are simple design guidelines to ensure ease of reading. These include:

  • Use standard 8.5” width x 11” height (A4) paper size
  • Organize information under relevant headings and sub-headings
  • Use bullets to highlight important details and limit word count by using an active voice
  • Use standard font (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) and size (11 pt)
  • Use standard left alignment, line spacing, and margins (1” for sides/bottom, 1.5” for top margin)
  • Avoid special formatting such as unusual colors, symbols, balance white space

There is varying opinion on how long your CV should be. It can serve as a detailed timeline of your research accomplishments, or it can serve as a gallery of highlights to date. Regardless of how long your CV is, it’s important to include the most fundamental details about your experience and research interests,

It can also be tempting to make your CV stand out by using unique fonts, font sizes, colors, and alignments. However, this can have the opposite effect as your CV becomes difficult to follow and takes on an unprofessional appearance. Convey personality through your cover letter and expertise rather than through visual formatting options.

Third Party Review

Once you’ve drafted and proofread a document numerous times, it’s easy to miss items that may be obvious to someone with fresh eyes. Engage with others to review your CV to make sure it is coherent, easy to read, and properly conveys your professional experience. You may also reach out to your Research Center Chair for additional guidance.

Have you checked out our Center for Writing Excellence? Faculty and students in need of writing support are encouraged to visit the Writing Help group on PhoenixConnect. The Center for Writing Excellence is also home to numerous tutorials and guides.

Visit the Center for Writing Excellence to learn more.

Keep Your CV Updated

Things change. As time goes on, you’ll complete projects, publish and present, explore new areas of interest, participate in different industry organizations, and so on. As these list of accomplishments grow, we recommend regularly taking the time to update your CV (and your user profile along with it).

To add or update your CV here on Research Hub, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the Research Hub
  2. Click your username in the upper most navigation
  3. Click “View Profile” from the menu that appears
  4. While viewing your profile, click the “Edit” tab
  5. Select the “Professional Experience” tab at left and scroll to the bottom to upload or remove and replace your CV

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